Ivan Illiev was born 1951 in Burgas, Bulgaria, on the Black Sea. He studied graphics, illustration and book design at the Academy of Arts in Sofia from 1970 until 1975. After graduating, he worked as a graphic artist and book designer in Bulgaria. Since 1990, he has lived with his family as a freelance artist in Vienna, Austria.
"Three cornerstones comprise the primary characteristics of my artistic work: the care for detail, the love of nature and my affinity for late Renaissance and Baroque painting. I find the subjects of my paintings all around me. The plants that have always fascinated me are not only nature forms – perfect by design, but like any creation in the real world, also equivalent with the message of growing and withering - the flowing of time. I like to think about all that; it can be found as a main theme in my works - still life painting is a way to tell intriguing stories; many great artists have done it in an incredible manner; trying to understand what they were after, I hope to find my own one."